Since COVID is still a thing, Nat’s What I Reckon has the perfect thing to help pass the time: A recipe for self pie-solation shepherd’s pie.
We’re well over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and things are not quite where they used to be just yet. There’s no denying we’ve adapted to these strange times and life has gotten back to some semblance of normality, but there’s always a risk of an outbreak happening.
To help us get through these weird times, people have really gravitated to two things over the past year: cooking and comedy.
It makes perfect sense after all. You’re stuck at home and have time on your hands so why not cook, and comedy helps provide much needed levity.
The result? A brilliant hilarious self-help guide titled Un-cook Yourself: A Ratbag’s Rules for Life which is filled with advice from Nat’s What I Reckon on how to get through iso life and several recipes on how to cook for yourself while stuck at home.
But don’t just take our word for it. We’ve got an exclusive excerpt from the book right here for you to read and it’s the recipe for the perfectly titled “self pie-solation shepherd’s pie.”
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Self Pie-solation Shepherd’s Pie recipe by Nat’s What I Reckon
Pie fixes everything, and this one was awesome when stuck at home during lockdown. Who doesn’t love a bloody pie? Lamb mince is a total winner for this dish. If you can’t find lamb mince or the idea freaks you out for some reason, use beef mince and call it a cottage pie. One of the best fucking meals you’ll ever eat right here.
- Serves: 6–8
- Cooking time: a couple of hours
- 800 g peeled potatoes
- 1–2 carrots
- 1 brown onion
- 1 whole bulb of garlic
- 700 g lamb mince
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 stalks rosemary
- 1 good glug Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup or so of stout (or redders)
- 1 cup peas
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1–2 cups beef stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- 200 ml milk or cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 50 g Parmesan
1 medium size pie-tray thing
First thing you’re gonna need to do is peel and cut your potatoes up, put them in a saucepan with a good pinch of salt and fill it with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, get ya carrots and grate them into a bowl. Grab your onion, dice that up and bung it in there too.
Peel, mince or crush your garlic (or just cut it up, it doesn’t Parramatta), and set it aside in its own bowl.
Now let’s fucken cook the shit.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC if it’s fan forced). Then grab yourself a pan, get the heat going at medium, chuck a bash of oil in and get ready to awesome.
First cab off the rank, ya wanna fry the lamb mince, breaking it up as you go. You want to try and cook all the liquid shit out of it. You’ll see liquid form around the mince – cook it off. When there’s no liquid left and the mince has browned, scoop it out into a bowl.
Chuck your pan back on the heat, give it another tablespoon of oil then bung in the onion and carrot and fry it for a few minutes till they’ve softened, then introduce the lamb back in. Give that a stir and then chuck in your garlic. Give it another stir around.
Next put in your tablespoon of flour. Now, ya do wanna fry it off for a minute or two after this, stirring continuously, otherwise you’ll taste the fucken flour, and flour tastes chat.
In goes the thyme. Pull the rosemary leaves off the stalk and chuck those in too.
Next give it a good glug of Worcestershire sauce and bung in a cup of stout. If ya don’t want to use stout, you can use red wine, it doesn’t matter. Cook the booze off for a few minutes (5ish).
Fuck, this is going to taste good af.
Bung in ya peas, give it a stir. Next put in a cuppla tablespoons of tomato paste.
Chuck in a cup of beef stock . . . or veggie stock, or chicken stock or Woodstock. Whatever.
Now, if you like it a bit richer, you can put more stock in and simmer gently to reduce the amount of liquid if you’ve got the time.
Add a little pinch of salt and a crack of pepper.
You wanna simmer this for a while until it’s thick. You don’t wanna see heaps of runny shit in it. It doesn’t have to be stiff as a fucken birthday cake, but it just needs to be structurally sound enough to be considered a pie.
Check on your potatoes. If they’re soft enough to stick a fork through easily, take them off the heat, drain and return them to the warm saucepan on the bench.
Add ya butter, a big dash of cream or milk and a pinch of salt.
To get your two egg yolks ya gotta separate the yolks from the whites. Easiest way to do this is crack the eggs in half and hang onto the yolk with half of the shell, then ya kinda tip it back and forth over a bowl until you’re left with just the yolk and the white has dripped into the bowl. Chuck the yolk in with the potatoes and do the same with the other egg.
Bang in ya cheddar cheese, then mash it all together. I like to use a whisk to get it really fucken smooth.
Righto, once that’s done, check on ya mince. If it looks like it’s kinda holding its shape a bit and without too much liquid, then it’s done.
With some slow, seductive music playing, lovingly tip the mince into the pie tray, even it out with a fucken flat thing. Or a spoon, whatever Trevor.
Next you wanna top the mince with mashed potato. And don’t just fucken plonk it all on because you’ll fuck it up trying to squish it down. Just do a little at a time.
Once you’ve finished your little potato plonk-a-rama, you want to GENTLY spread the potato evenly across the mince. Then get yourself a fork and drag it across the top of the pie to create ripples. Don’t ask me why, it’s just the way it’s done.
Next, grate a little Parmesan cheese on top, and chuck it in the oven for 25 minutes or until it’s a little golden brown on top.
Pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 15–20 minutes. Don’t serve it straight away; it’s hot burnies.
Serve it up and high-five someone. It’s fucken awesome. You’re fucken awesome. Cooking is fucken awesome. Awesome!
‘Un-cook Yourself: A Ratbag’s Rules for Life’ by Nat’s What I Reckon, published by Penguin Random House on 1 December 2020, RRP $32.99